London/New Delhi, November 10: Soon after the debacle in the Bihar Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi got another shock when a Britain based secular network of activists, individuals and organisations — Awaaz Network — protested against the visit of Indian Premier in United Kingdom by featuring a clear message at the Palace of Westminster in London on Sunday saying “MODI NOT WELCOME”. But, before we go into deep, let us look what is ‘Awaaz Network’ all about.
Awaaz Foundation: Based in Britain, Awaaz is an organisation of individuals and activists with secular mindsets who claim to be committed to monitor and combat religious hatred in South Asia and the United Kingdom. Set up mostly a decade ago, this group has continuously raised their voices against the communal hatred and the intolerance in south Asia — including Pakistan and Bangladesh. The organisation has been against Hindu fascism and terrorism in the name of religion. In order to mobilise their ideology, this group of intellectuals have been organising campaigns since 2002, which includes protest rallies, campaigns, seminars and even had launched a book — Narendra Modi Exposed : challenging the myths surrounding the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate
Previous Engagements: Since the inception in the late 1990s, the organisation has been raising their voice against the injustice and violence in the name of religion and politics in South Asia. Soon, after the Godhra incident in 2002, the organisation had started a campaign and lead a protest rally in London on August 21, 2002 against Lal Krishna Advani — then Home Minister of India — who was supposed to visit Britain. Activists protested with placards “L K ADVANI NOT WELCOME HERE”.
Just before this, they also sought justice for the Sakil and Saeed Dawood — both British Indian nationals — who were killed due to religious hatred. They also sought justice for the victims and their families of Godhra riots. In July 2004, Awaaz held a seminar on religious fundamentalism in Pakistan, gender and religious violence and the Kashmir conflicts, which was widely appreciated by the intellectuals. But, before you move onto a conclusion that they only speak of rising intolerance and religious violence, one should know that in 2005 they have done a campaign to raise funds in order to help the Tsunami victims in South Asia. Their campaign of raising funds came with a caution of being aware of the communal forces like Sewa International UK and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK. (ALSO READ: Narendra Modi UK visit: British Indians protest against Indian PM’s ‘anti-secular agenda’ with dramatic projection on British Parliament)
MODI Connection: With the secular ideology, Awaaz has been dominating the United Kingdom agitation movements against religious hatred and had held several public rallies. Since Narendra Modi’s name was associated with February 27, 2002 Godhra riots, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time, Awaaz feels Modi responsible for the riots and the massacre. On March 26, 2005 the association held a public rally in London protesting his arrival at the British land and they succeeded.
Recent Case: With Narendra Modi — now the Prime Minister of India is scheduled to visit Britian and would address the Parliament on an special invitation from the Speaker and the British Prime Minister David Cameron himself, the latest protest by splashing words in bold — MODI NOT WELCOME — and depicting Modi with a sword and a logo of the symbol ‘Om’ slowly transforming into the Swastika at the Palace of Westminster in London, is surely an indication that they still fell him guilty for the heinous and tragic incident of Gujarat riots. The reason could what many scholars are predicting is his party’s defeat in the Bihar Assembly elections and the pity politics in the name of intolerance and religious hatred.
As the countdown for the final show has begun when Modi would address a crowd of 70,000 people in London’s Wembley stadium, Awaaz is planning a mass rally on November 12, just a day before the grand show. Will they succeed this time, lets see.